Stronger Than Before: Survivors Find New Meaning in Their Work Lives After Cancer

Mike Hennessy, Sr.

IT CAN BE HARD SOMETIMES to fathom that individuals forced to confront the many stresses that accompany a cancer diagnosis also have to worry about their finances and keeping their jobs. Yet, as those still in treatment and survivors know all too well, overcoming barriers related to work can be an ongoing struggle.

Fortunately, laws are in place to protect patients and survivors from employment discrimination, and an array of advocacy groups have formed to help you and your loved ones navigate the world of work after cancer.

In this issue’s cover story, Kathy LaTour describes the struggles, but also the victories, of survivors who decided to take their careers in a new, more meaningful direction — providing inspiration for others like them eager to regain their professional footing after cancer.

Aspiring oncology nurse Taylor Hendrix is just such an exemplar. Having survived multiple bouts of cancer beginning at the age of 11, she is now pursuing a career in nursing, drawn to the profession by the skill and compassion she witnessed in her own care team.

Also in this issue of Heal®, we profile other survivors forever changed by having cancer themselves or from caregiving for a loved one. Our celebrity profile features Tony and Grammy award–winning Christian Hoff, of Broadway musical Jersey Boys’ fame whose youngest daughter has acute lymphoblastic leukemia and whose wife is a breast cancer survivor. Hoff performs and is a tireless advocate in behalf of cancer research funding, in part, he says, to “give hope and encouragement to others.”

If you’re like me, you’re confused by the barrage of news about marijuana which is in the headlines once again, as several states debate whether to make it legal for recreational use. Cannabis is currently approved for medical purposes in more than half of the states, but how easy — or difficult — is it to actually obtain the drug, what does it cost and does it actually help to ease symptoms during and after cancer treatment? You can find some answers to these questions from Judith Paice, a highly regarded expert on cancer-related pain, in this issue’s “Your Nurse on Call.” Survivors can also learn more in Heal® about where to locate resources to cook simple, but nutritious meals, cope with the knowledge of a genetic risk for cancer, discreetly access information to deal with sexual side effects and much, much more.

We hope that you find in these pages both practical information and everyday inspiration, and as always, thank you for reading.

Chairman and CEO
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